Holding the 4th and 26th overall picks in the 2014 NFL Draft, the Cleveland Browns have plenty of options. Here are Cleveland’s four most likely first round scenarios, including which players could be wearing the orange and brown this season.
Scenario 1: Trade down from #4
If the Browns are able to move back from their #4 pick, it might pay in dividends. A team like Buffalo at #9 or Detroit at #10 are rumored to be interested in trading up, namely for WR Sammy Watkins or LB Khalil Mack. In this scenario, Cleveland makes a deal with one of these teams and lands an additional 2nd round pick (and perhaps a bit more) to make the move from #4 to #9 or #10.
With #9 or #10, Cleveland can look in several directions. The obvious need, a QB, becomes a much more viable choice here than at #4. This could mean Blake Bortles or Johnny Manziel. But the Browns could address the QB position at #26 and instead use this choice on WR Mike Evans, OT Jake Matthews or OT Taylor Lewan, if any are available. If these players are gone, the Browns might address their need at corner and select either Darqueze Dennard or Justin Gilbert.
This scenario works because of value. The Browns would acquire more picks in a very deep draft.Browns GM Ray Farmer has options in Round 1
Scenario 2: Best player available at #4, QB at #26
If a trade doesn’t materialize, or if the right player falls to #4, the Browns could stay put and pick the highest player on their board. Assuming Clowney is gone, this would be Watkins, Mack or Robinson, depending on who is available. In this scenario, the pick at #4 is someone other than a QB. The rationale being there is no Andrew Luck in this year’s draft class, plus one of the top QBs will probably fall farther than expected.
That’s where the Browns have an advantage. If a QB starts to slide, whether it’s Manziel, Bridgewater, Bortles, or Carr, Cleveland has #26 to grab a falling QB. Other teams don’t have the luxury of an additional first rounder. They could even trade up a few spots here to ensure they get their guy. The result could be nabbing both Watkins and a QB in the first round. That’s a great Round 1 for Cleveland.
Scenario 3: QB at #4, Best player available at #26
No one knows for sure who the Browns will take if they keep the fourth overall pick. Some media outlets seem certain it’ll be a QB, others aren’t so sure. If Cleveland is convinced that there’s a franchise QB in this draft, they won’t take any chances. In this scenario, the Browns get their QB at #4, whether it’s Manziel, Bortles, or someone else.
At #26, the Browns would likely take either a CB or a WR. This year’s CB class is deep, with at least four corners with first round grades. Some corners Cleveland could take a look at if they’re available at #26 are Bradley Roby, Kyle Fuller, and Jason Verrett.
This year’s WR class is also deep. The Browns could look at a number of options, including Marqise Lee, Kelvin Benjamin, Allen Robinson, or Cody Latimer. Whether it’s a WR, CB or something else, the Browns could address a need at #26 with a quality player.
Scenario 4: Wait until Round 2 for a QB
It’s less likely than other scenarios, but the Browns might be able to wait as several QBs could slip in this year’s draft. A team with such a big need at QB probably won’t wait too long to pick one, but waiting until the top of the second round might not be a bad idea.
Why wait? It maximizes value with each pick. In this scenario, the Browns grab the best players available at both #4 and #26. Cleveland ends up with one of the four best players in the draft with pick #4 and addresses another need with one of the best players available at #26. Some possibilities for this scenario include Watkins and a CB or Robinson and a CB/WR.
Then in Round 2, they could select one of several QBs—whether it’s someone who slid out of the first round (Carr, Bridgewater) or someone who projects as a second round QB (Garoppolo, McCarron).